What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by Melissa Moore.

I am no stranger to lingering despair and isolation. On an ordinary spring afternoon in 1995, the father I relied on as a provider, who read me bedtime stories as a young girl, was arrested and would forever forward be known as the notorious Happy Face serial killer. As the chaos and crises erupted all around me, I promised myself that I would find a way out of the darkness-despite the circumstances thrust upon me. I knew instinctively that I had resources and choices that could lead a path out to divinity and lightness.

One step at a time, one choice at a time, I consciously began to create something new—something healthier . . .Despite this shift, however, hidden deep inside where no one could see—where I wouldn’t let anyone see—a sinister black hole lurked. It refused to be filled, no matter what I did. Food didn’t fill it. Material goods couldn’t touch it. Relationships and religion sometimes shifted my focus, but eventually that raw, nagging darkness would intrude unbearably into everyday life. Like black holes in space that suck energy from the surrounding universe, my life was being robbed of joy and passion from within my own self.

Then quite suddenly, before I could prepare myself, before I was ready or even wanted to be, my seven-year-old daughter Aspen ignored the nails and locks and buttresses of my secrecy. She asked an innocent question, expecting an honest answer.

“Mommy, where is your daddy?” my daughter asked, her eyes full of open curiosity. “Everybody has a daddy. You have to have a daddy, too, don’t you?”

I did not reveal anything to Aspen that day about her grandfather, but my mind couldn’t stop racing. How can I become wholehearted so my daughter could have the mother she deserves? I couldn’t find a single book on the subject. The few people I entrusted with my inner battle seemed as bewildered as I was….and it was then that everything began to change.

The answer came slowly through my journey over five years after Aspen’s question. Little by little, as I listen to a still small voice within I collected shreds of my emotional spiritual fabric and started to piece them together.

The first step was to break out of the shame by sharing the secret of who my father was-which left me completely vulnerable. I had to face possible rejection, loss of clients, and my husband’s employment in a fortune 5 company. With the support of my husband, Sam I spoke the truth and broke out of my silence. On Father’s Day 2008 I flew to LA and met with Dr. Phil to begin my healing journey in front of millions.

Another step I took privately: I prayed for a complete healing -believing it would be possible. I believed that I was powerless to help myself alone, that I needed the love and guidance from a loving God. I found that the more I asked to feel God’s love for the day in my daily prayer, the more I felt wholeness, and peace.

Then slowly, over the months I wrote out everything I believed to be absolute truth I had gathered about my life, myself, weight, my past, my relationships, money, my parenting..everything on pieces of paper. I decided to question each truth one by one. Surprisingly I found that some of my beliefs really weren’t true at all! That they were just beliefs I borrowed from the people around me.

I needed to start writing a new belief, a new story.

Over time this changed everything. I now feel whole, free from the past shame of keeping my father’s identity a secret, to being a wholehearted mother and person. We truly can be healed from horrific circumstances, abuse, and trauma. I see that we are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but the love we’re not extending to ourselves and others in our current moments.